Things felt good from minute one – Rhodes
Mike Rhodes received the Heineken Star of the Match award for his performance in Saracens’ Champions Cup quarter-final victory over Leinster.
The South African was part of a pack that dominated at the set piece, winning seven scrum penalties to provide opportunities for Alex Goode and Elliot Daly to take kicks as goal and for the team to regroup and relieve their lines at crucial moments.
He also made 15 tackles and a turnover on a superb after for Mark McCall’s side.
“We had a great week of preparation and from minute one things just felt good for us out there.”
They went into the clash as underdogs against Leinster and their heroics ended the Irish province’s 25-match unbeaten run since last season’s European final.
After going into half-time 22-3 ahead, Rhodes says the group knew the hosts would come out all guns blazing looking to come back into the game and weathering the storm was key to grinding out the victory.
“This was huge for us,” he said.
“A lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance coming here against Leinster so this is a great victory for us. As you know, it’s been a tough year for us to come here and get the win was massive.
“We knew we had to show up here, especially with our forward pack. We had a great week of preparation and from minute one things just felt good for us out there. That was the plan and it takes a 15-man effort but as forwards we really brought it today.
“We knew they were going to come out firing after that first half and we spoke about it in the changing room. For us to weather the storm of it like we knew we’d have to was amazing and that was a pivotal moment in the game for us.”